• [ΚΕΝΟ]


Prince of Lilies relief fresco

Fragmentary, joined from fragments, restored.
Height: 230 cm. Width: 145 cm.
Late Bronze Age. Neopalatial period, Late Minoan I period.:
1600 - 1450 BC:
Exhibition thematic unit:
Minoan wall paintings
The world of the court
The Prince of Lilies is perhaps the most famous of all the Minoan frescoes. It depicts a young man in high relief against a red ground. The life-size male figure, comprised of three non-joining pieces, is wearing a colourful loincloth and belt, and a majestic crown of waz-lilies and peacock feathers. According to Arthur Evans, the excavator of Knossos, he was the “Ruler of Knossos”, the “Priest-King”, the personification of religious and temporal power. Other scholars propose different reconstructions of the fragments and interpretations of the fresco, identifying the “Prince” as an athlete, a boxer, or a ruler making a gesture of command, while the luxurious crown is thought to belong to a priestess or a sphinx. The fresco was discovered in the South Wing of the palace of Knossos, and the excavator believed it formed part of the Procession Fresco. The Prince of Lilies may have adorned a processional corridor, but at an earlier date than that to which the fragments of the Procession Fresco belong.
Evans, A.J. The Palace of Minos: A Comparative Account of the Successive Stages of the Early Cretan Civilization as Illustrated by the Discoveries at Knossos. Volume ΙI.2. London, 1928, 774-795, frontispiece. Coulomb, J. "Le 'Prince aux Lis' de Knossos reconsider?." Bulletin de Correspondence H?ll?nique 103 (1979): 29-50. Niemeier, W.-D. "The Priest-King Fresco of Knossos: a New Reconstruction and Interpretation." In E.B. French and K.A. Wardle (eds), Problems in Greek Prehistory. Papers presented at the Centenary Conference of the British School of Archaeology at Athens, Manchester, 1986, 235-244. Shaw, M.C. "The "Priest-King" Fresco from Knossos: Man, Woman, Priest, King, or Someone Else?". In A.P. Chapin (ed.), ΧΑΡΙΣ. Essays in Honor of Sara A. Immerwahr (Hesperia Supplement 33). Princeton, 2004, 65-84.
E. S.

Photographs' metadata